SAFE HOUSE:

Life has a way of serving up situation after situation.

Global or personal, we each have something(s) we are dealing with.

Can you relate with any part of this pyramid of problems?

Where do we go for safety, sanity and serenity?

The library of God’s Holy Scriptures; the Bible. 1189 chapters of truth, guidance, law, light and love. Every single word is inspired by God and intended for anyone who seeks knowledge, encouragement, revelation, hope, comfort, rebuke, correction and transformation.

That is the safest place you can go to. Lose yourself in the safety of God’s word and ask Him to speak to you whenever you sit down with His word. He will be right there with you opening your eyes to new things you have never known and He will help you navigate your life with the truth of His word. That is where you will find answers to your deepest questions or your everyday frustrations and to everything in between.

Let’s do this practically, shall we?

If you feel that your situation is so unique that it doesn’t fall within our pyramid of problems, read:

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Cor 10:13)

If you had a rough day and need some uplifting, read:

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26)

If you feel like you have hit rock bottom, read:

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalms 23:4)

If you are surrounded by people but still feel lonely, read:

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)

If you have just received bad news that is weighing on you heavily, read:

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ (Isaiah 41:10)

If you have never stepped in a church building or had anyone talk to you about God, read:

For God so loved the world that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life.  (John 3:16)

If you were once a Christian but ditched this ‘faith thing’ because of something(s) you suffered, read:

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8)

If you are often, ignored, dismissed and in need of affirmation, read:

See, I have inscribed you in the palm of my hands. (Isaiah 49:16)

If you’re going through any kind of relational crisis, read:

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)

If you’re at the decision cross-roads, read:

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
 (Prov 9:10)

And for anyone and everyone on this page read:

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Joshua 1:8)

As you find comfort in God’s word, remember that all else will pass away but His word will by no means pass away. (Matthew 24:35)

Enjoy the safe house.

 

FIVE LOAVES, TWO FISH:

And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals. But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. He said, Bring them hither to me. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.

Matthew 14:15‭-‬21 KJV


Many of us are familiar with this miracle. What’s in it for us?


Father, thank you for your word. Give us the grace to grow in our hunger and thirst for truth. May we delight in You. In Jesus’ name, amen.


Takeaways:

1. Jesus cares:

The disciples wanted to send the people away so that they could go and buy food. But Jesus told them to give the people something to eat. Jesus cares about us. Each one of us: man, woman, boy and girl. The figure of five thousand did not include the women and children. If He cared about each and every person in that crowd, will He not care for you and I?

2. Jesus listens:

How can one care without first listening? I can visualise the conversations between Jesus and the disciples. I can imagine Him listening intently, wanting to know why the people could not be fed. Jesus, is God: omniscient. Doesn’t He know our thoughts and needs even before we think or voice them? I tend to get rather impatient and bored when someone tells me something I already know. But not so with God. He listens to us. He enjoys it when we talk to Him. He desires for you to seek and commune with Him.

3. Five powerful words:

And they said, we have here only five loaves and two fish.

He said, “bring them here to Me.”

Those five words stood out for me.

Here are the disciples telling Jesus that all they had was five loaves and two fish….for five thousand people minus women and children.

This reminds me of reality. Whatever that may look like for you. Your real life circumstances. You know, the cards you’ve been dealt….believer or not. It is hard, I know. We all have burdens to bear, sometimes heavier than our backs can carry. Whatever the load is, as impossible as it may seem….take it to Him.

He says, bring them here to Me.

Leave the rest to Him. Could the disciples have imagined the magnitude of the miracle that was to come? I’d say no. Can you imagine how God will move in your situation? Probably not. That is not for you to lose sleep over. Yours is to trust that He who cares enough to say, ‘bring them here to Me‘, will do whatever He needs to for His glory.

4. There’s more to it than food:

Remember man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the Lord.

As we grow in our desire and yearning for God, He not only fills up….He not only satisfies; but as we abide in Him, our cups overflow. (Psalms 23).


Be encouraged as you continue to read God’s word.

HE WILL NOURISH YOU:

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And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. (Isaiah 58:11)

Whenever I walk around my block, I never fail to appreciate the greenery that surrounds us. We live in a desert country characterized by eight months of scorching summer and four months of 23 degree winters. However, lush landscapes can be found in selected areas. We are privileged to live in one. As I walked this evening, I marveled, at one particular tree. It stood tall and had fresh offshoots sprouting out of its branches. I just had to touch them. How could this tree flourish in such a harsh climate?


This brought me to our desert seasons as Christians; where you find yourself in a place where you feel like there’s nothing for you? Where your spirit feels parched and desolate. Where your strength wanes when you behold the vast nothingness about you. Where you have a ‘why I am here’ moment. Only you can articulate what that season is to you. If you’re going through that right now, read on.

In the Bible we encounter deserts in the following stories:
  • Israelite’s forty year journey.
  • David’s escapes to the wilderness.
  • John the Baptist.
  • Jesus Christ.
What we can learn from them:

Remember Jesus’ prayer at Mount Olives; ‘Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.’ (Luke 22:42). God is capable of taking us out of our tough seasons. However, He allows them in our lives to teach and prepare us for a greater good, desert seasons included.

What was your last desert season like? What got you through and what did you learn from it? I’d love to hear from you.

Dear Father, may You be glorified in all seasons and may Your will be done. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

GOD IS ABLE: PRISCILLA SHIRER

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Indeed, life is life.
Between birth and death we go through a myriad of remarkable milestones which prepare us for the next level; which is thrilling and sometimes complicated. As we navigate those levels; whether physical, emotional, spiritual or financial, we are faced with triumphs, tribulations, bewilderments, accomplishments and plain rude shocks. Sometimes, we tend towards building boxes for God, both knowingly and unknowingly. Then again our faith has a life of its own which is why I’m delighted to share a review of a ‘growing-up-in-faith’ book.
Honestly, I picked the book out of curiosity more than anything else. Curious to find out if Priscilla Shirer is equally gifted in writing as she is in speaking. If you’re not familiar with her, she is the main actress in the GMA Dove Award winning movie, ‘War room’. She’s also an author, motivational speaker and Christian evangelist. Curious to find out just what wisdom I could learn from a book titled: ‘God Is Able’.
First off, the title of the book reminds me of statements we hear so much and so often that we hardly realise that we’re slowly losing a connection with the truth represented in them. Shirer says this book is for anyone who has lost even an ounce of confidence in the power and loving attention of God. The book opens by encouraging the reader to reflect on what actually brought them to the book. Or as Shirer puts it, ‘that thing in your life you can’t seem to know, escape, fix or solve.’ That’s where it all begins. A searching within oneself for any BUT that may come up when you say the words, GOD IS ABLE.
She then takes the reader on a ‘Seven T’s’ expository journey of Ephesians 3:20-21 which looks like this:

  • Time
  • Turning
  • Truth
  • Transcendence
  • Totality
  • Turbo
  • Tribute
Shirer weaves her own personal stories, others’ experiences and colourful relatable analogies throughout the book; all the while keeping the reader focused on what really matters which is the Word. It’s impossible to read this book without looking back at your own testimonies of how God met your requests in ways you didn’t even imagine were possible.
Shirer beautifully unpacks the mystery of God being able to do EXCEEDING ABUNDANTLY BEYOND what we can ask or think, all the while inviting us to actually believe, receive and experience this truth.

POST IT!

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

Joshua 1:8

In which areas does your faith need solidification? Have fear and anxiety made residence in your heart and mind? Do you struggle with negative thoughts? Do you feel forgotten by God? Do you wonder how things just took an unfortunate turn of events and why it has to be you? Do you feel like God doesn’t care? What is your game plan for the season? How will you make it through and come out stronger like an eagle after its rebirth?

Our search for perfect peace will only bring us back to Christ Jesus. Nothing lies beyond His word. Whatever we require for life’s changing seasons is in His Word.


I invite you to learn a simple yet powerful way of meditating scripture.

First off, a definition of the word ‘meditate’. I like this one from the Oxford dictionary:
meditate (on/upon something) to think deeply, usually in silence, especially for religious reasons or in order to make your mind calm. meditate something (formal) to plan something in your mind; to consider doing something. Synonym – contemplate
 Looking at Hebrew and Greek definitions, we find five words:
hâgâh, śı̂ychâh, higgâyôn, śı̂yach , meletaō
A summary of the meanings of these words include: to murmur (in pleasure or anger); ponder, imagine, commune, mutter, roar, speak, study, talk, utter, converse (with oneself, and hence aloud), complain, declare, muse, to take care of, revolve in the mind, imagine. Or: reflection, devotion, musical notation, solemn sound, contemplation, utterancebabbling and communication.
Basically, meditation involves turning your mind into a scripture factory where you read out Scripture aloud to yourself, and think, dream, breathe and sleep it. Taking it in as often as you possibly can via reading, video or audio and just letting it play over and over in your mind as you make it second nature of course all with the help of the Holy Spirit. . Pick a verse, read it slowly then stop, go through it word by word…..soak yourself in it. Ask God to focus your mind on His Word. It also involves not just talking to yourself about it, but to others. The mind is a battlefield! Secure yourself with the belt of truth.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16)


ARE YOU READY?

Think of areas in your life where you feel the devil is trying to get a foothold. Areas where you feel your faith is shaky, areas where you have believed in lies from the depths of hell. You can also come up with areas where you need reminders of the truth, or areas where you’re trusting God for wisdom.

It is time to replace lies with truth, time for edification and rekindling of worship. It’s time to resolve to hide God’s word in our hearts that we may not sin against Him. (Psalms 119:11).

Now get scriptures that speak to those specific areas and post them where you can see them regularly as you go about your day. You know best where to post them! I picked my kitchen because I spend a good chunk of my time there. I posted the scriptures in the image at the beginning of this post right above my sink. I figured it would be a great idea to have verses there which I could meditate upon instead of just mechanically washing dishes as my mind wandered everywhere and nowhere. It was also a pleasant thing to discover that this was actually a way of inviting God’s presence into my daily grind where a simple task like washing dishes could be turned into a moment of worship or devotion.


Further Ideas:

  • Scripture cards
  • Phone or PC homescreen/wallpaper
  • Sticky notes on your desk/car etc
  • Bookmarks with scripture
  • Scripture written on your chalkboard or white board
  • Scripture written on your bathroom mirror with an erasable marker pen

Prayer:

Dear Lord, thank you for the ease at which we can access your word. Thank you for speaking to us in a language we can understand. Thank you for  Your Word which is  truth and life, a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our paths. It is rich and perfect beyond description. Thank you that we can sit at your feet and learn the Truth. Mold us  Lord. Teach us. Open up our hearts to hear you, to listen, to trust, to obey, to grow. Fix our focus on you. Lift our heads toward you and nothing else. May our hearts be that good soil that is ready to receive the seeds you desire to sow in us. May our lives be founded on truth and not lies. May we hear your voice above every other voice. Give us opportunities to share your word. Be glorified. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Your turn:
Please share in the comment section below, I’d love to hear how you meditate on God’s word on a day to day basis.

FRESH START, ANYONE?

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Today is the ninth day of the eighth month of this glorious year. The number 8, according to bible numerology, is representative of new beginnings. I don’t know about you but I like the sound of that. The fact that I have a new beginning in Christ and that God loves me enough to grace me with a fresh start over and over again makes me want to leap up in joy and dance. I love a fresh start; a new year, a new month, a new chapter, a new day. I have yet another shot at having faith the size of a mustard seed. That faith is all I need to walk with my head held high. 

How has 2016 been to you thus far? How is your walk with God? Are you enjoying an intimate friendship with God or is He a distant acquaintance? Mine has been a rewarding year so far and I intend to commit the rest of the year to delighting in God.

Currently, I’m renewing my connection with God by doing a month-long study of the book of Psalms. It is in this very book that we see David, a man after God’s own heart, cry out and say,

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. [Psalms 51:10-12]

We are well aware of the garbage that surrounds and threatens to get into our heads and hearts. We also know that the heart is the seat of all wickedness. It is imperative that we strive to walk daily in devotion; otherwise it will be garbage upon heaps of garbage.

There is a confidence that comes with walking with God, a joy in the privilege of His presence; a restfulness in the face of life and its many rigours: be it decision making, trials or dilemmas. There is a wisdom that comes with knowing and fearing the Lord. A glow of salvation on the face of he/she who trusts God.

I desire to walk in God’s purpose. I desire to delight in His salvation and in Him.

What fresh start do you desire today?

Share your thoughts.

Be encouraged.

THE DAILY GRIND:

Scripture Focus:

  • Matthew 6:34: Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
  • Ecclesiastes 9:11: I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the learned;  but time and chance happen to them all. 

A DAY IN THE LIFE:

What does your today look like? What do you have to deal with? What’s your daily grind? What have you woken up to this very day? Life places demands on each person. There’s stuff that demands your attention, responsibilities, relationships that need nurturing, sacrifices that need to be made towards family and other loved ones, feelings that need to be dealt with, baggage. Who or what are you custodian over? What does a day in your life look like? Do you enjoy your routine or are you bored out of your skin? Do you love your job, business or whatever you devote your day to? Are you just doing it out of necessity or because you have purposed to relish each moment? Do you need inspiration for your day or do you bulldoze your way through the motions of it all? Is your day filled with pressure and anxiety about the amount of work that awaits you? Do you have a ‘life management system’ if any? 

 TODAY IS YOUR BABY STEP:

As you mull over your daily grind, consider today as being your “baby step”. I’ve heard folk use these lines many times before:

‘Am taking it one day at a time’ or, ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’. It all stems from a place where you acknowledge that today’s all you’ve got. Hard as it may be; it makes perfect sense to focus on today cause it’s the only assured time that we have. However,  we’ve all had our share of regrets about the past and dread concerning the future. Paul encourages us for the present when he says, I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward (Phillipians 3:13,14). Today makes all the difference.

BIG PICTURE, WHERE ARE YOU?

Sometimes I wish I could spread my life out on the table and study its nooks and crannies. I long to see where I have come from and how it all comes together. I long to figure out how events past and present make up the masterpiece that God predestined me to be. (Ephesians 2:10).

We are to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Before I knew Christ, I would never have guessed how it would happen; where I’d meet him and how I’d finally believe in my heart and confess with my mouth that He is Lord, the magnitude of trials I would go through and how I’d overcome them. Now that am in the fold, I honestly can’t process the perfection that God has in store for me. As hard as it is for my mind to imagine, I still crave for details of how He will perfect it. These great and mighty things that God wants to show me; what are they? Truth is, God may not work in the way we want Him to. I may lay out my life on the table and still not get it. But know what, He has given us today. It is possible to enjoy God and the journey to perfection; details or none.

Over the next few posts, I will write about enjoying God, in our daily walk. Don’t miss out!